If you’re not feeling likeable, read this.

I understand. I’ve definitely been at a stage in my life where I felt worthless, undeserving of love, and had a lot of self-pity. And maybe what made it more difficult was the fact that I went through the darkest period of my life on my own. So, I’m here to help – I don’t wish on anyone else what I’ve been through, so I’m here to make sure no one else has to struggle alone. Because I understand. I know how it feels. If there’s one thing I aspire to create, it’s a platform, a safe space where young adults feel encouraged to speak honestly about their feelings, thoughts and opinions without being judged, as well as my readers learning from my experiences in pursuit of all of us better humans.

Life is beautiful, there is no doubt about it. When we are surrounded by wonder, knowledge, good people, excitement and adventure. It’s a journey, so it’s not going to be easy or linear. If you are currently or ever feeling unlovable, read this.

1) Understand that what you feel is valid.

Things will never go “very well”. Things will sometimes go to the left, and any reaction is justifiable. Never let anyone make you feel any way to feel your feelings. It is healthy and a necessary part of life. I was once what you might call “emotionally constipated”. Expressing my emotions scared me; I could never tap into them. So if a situation warranted an emotional response, I would absorb them and keep it moving. I never showed or told people how I felt. Emotions accumulate. So on December 10, 2021, when I started crying in the middle of a baking class I was taking at school, I wasn’t sure what was wrong. And even then, I knew I needed help and yet I refused to show anyone that I was crying. So, I had a conversation with my manager of the year, and she helped me realize that holding back my emotions wasn’t doing me any good. It wore me out (and it didn’t help that I never took a break).

Don’t be like me. let it out. And don’t pretend… I always showed up to school with a smile plastered on my face to avoid talking about my feelings and to help others feel good. Know this: It’s okay not to be well.

2) Take a step back.

It will be even harder if you are someone like me and always like to be busy. I often feel guilty for not doing something productive. But it’s our mental and emotional well-being – it’s no joke. And taking time for yourself is very productive: it avoids burnout which, from personal experience, is difficult to overcome. It is better that we learn to take care of ourselves as soon as possible. I would recommend taking time away from social media – it harms our view of the world as it instills unrealistic expectations and ideals in us to strive for.

And take space with the people you think you need. It’s never a bad thing to ask for space while you think about yourself and other things – anyone who makes you feel guilty for keeping them close has no respect for you or your boundaries.

3) Talk to someone.

Discussions about mental health, feelings, identity – they should already be normalized and yet they carry such heavy stigma. Like me, reacting to a circumstance would be considered “too dramatic” because I’m a woman. Or a man opening up about his mental struggles would make him weak due to toxic masculinity (which correlates with the fact that in 2020, men were 3.88 times more likely to commit suicide than women). Or even the fact that open conversation about sexual orientation or gender identity is considered taboo in some communities – it’s still, sadly, illegal to be gay in 70 countries. We need to create space for these conversations to take place in order to establish an inclusive and progressive society.

And never underestimate the power of truth— be honest about how you feel. I remember when I didn’t feel like myself; my mother already knew that and made me tell her. I avoided telling her at first for fear she wouldn’t understand, but to my surprise, she understood. She was under a lot of pressure growing up and didn’t always feel like she had someone to talk to about her feelings. It was really reassuring to know that my mother could understand my situation and was ready to give me whatever I needed at that time. If you don’t feel able to talk to your parents, talk to a friend or sibling. Anyone you feel would listen.

4) Challenge the norm.

For a very long time, I hated my body. It was always those “Oh, you’ve gotten so fat” or “Are you going to eat all that?” comments that caused my body dysmorphia. And most of the time those comments came from people I barely knew. And it sucked. I woke up every day hating myself. Hating what I had been blessed with and wishing I was different. Constantly look in the mirror and find a new imperfection. Then I realized that I’m on Earth to satisfy no one but myself, so I’m not going to spend my time obsessing over what other people think of me. I love me. I am beautiful just the way I am and if I don’t appreciate myself and my beauty, no one else will. We are all amazing, unique, original. Being the same is boring. So embrace your curves, your lips, your thighs, your hips, your forehead, your nose, your skin and your toes. Without them, you wouldn’t be you. Not conforming to beauty standards: be bold, be brave, be beautiful.

5) Love yourself.

It’s so difficult because there are so many sides to self-love and it’s a journey that we’re all still on. My main tips would be: put yourself first. You are the main character in your story, so treat yourself as such. Listen to your body: it will only send a distress signal if something is wrong. never complain: you have to radiate energy from the boss because you are amazing. There is nothing to regret. And be kind to others: it creates a beautiful world. I also have a ten step guide based on self love which you can find here.

6) Channel emotions into the things that matter.

The anger, the doubt, the worry, the discomfort – I put it into my school studies and it gave me some of my best results ever. Make yourself proud. By channeling your energy, however, I don’t mean venting your emotions onto others. I used to do that, and it put a strain on some of my most treasured relationships. Whenever I’m angry or upset now, I leave a frame and go sit on my own so I can process my emotions, then I can go back to where I was, after understanding things inside. Don’t stop your emotional response and take it out on others. It’s not fair to them or to yourself.

7) Recognize the importance of self-reflection.

It is important to celebrate your successes and recognize how far you have come. And I’m proud of you. To get out of bed. For giving everything another chance. I’m proud of you for all that. It’s important to give yourself credit for the things you’ve overcome. It allows you to have hope for the future and to keep trying.

8) Seek professional help.

If everything seems hopeless, talk to a specialist: maybe a nurse/mental health helpline or maybe a therapist. They understand and can help you. So here are some direct lines that you can choose to contact if you are ever looking for help:

  • Supportiv

  • Samaritans

  • Death2Life

  • TeenLine

And there are so many more. People will always be ready to help you. I promise.

This is by no means me saying that my journey of self-love and growth is over – I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I’m still learning to trust myself and my decisions, which keeps me from trusting others. I hesitate to let my guard down, which in the past has cost me friendships. So basically none of us are perfect. We all have different experiences in life. But know that what you have faced should never be invalidated. You matter, your experiences matter, your feelings matter and never let anyone make you think otherwise. you have this. I promise things will get better, because with life there is hope.

And I love you, because you all matter to me.